Supreme Court to Decide Extraterritorial Reach of Lanham Act

Takeaway: The Supreme Court will decide whether the Lanham Act applies abroad to purely foreign sales.

The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to review the case Abitron Austria GmbH et al. v. Hetronic International Inc. This Supreme Court decision could clarify the Lanham Act’s geographic scope.

The petitioners are German and Austrian companies who are appealing an Oklahoma jury’s award for the U.S. based company whose products the foreign companies used to sell throughout Europe before the relationship ended. The U.S. company claims that the foreign companies then reverse engineered its products and continued to sell them abroad to European customers without permission.

The Supreme Court will decide whether the court of appeals erred in applying the Lanham Act extraterritorially to petitioners’ foreign sales that never reached the United States.